I listened to Ray CartaGino for the first time, about a year back, and I remember him an artist who stands firmly on his feet with his projects. He tackles his subject matter with an intensity and vigor you don’t find with a lot of other artists, making it palatable and edible for fans, and even non-fans of the genre, alike. He is very intentional with his approach and doesn’t shy away from any sensitive subjects. Ohio is a hard sell. It’s not typically the first location that comes to mind when you think of rap and hip-hop, and, I would have to assume, not the easiest place for a career breakout.
Caught between the classically synth-driven vigor of the West Coast, the ever-changing identity of the East and dirty funk of the South, the Midwest – apart from a few outliers – has largely been without a signature sound to carve a niche for itself. In the underground scene though, there is an artist, who continues to show a fierce loyalty to his State, and is doing his bit to give it a particular aesthetic.
Born in Cleveland Ohio and raised in Canton Ohio, Rayshaun Hastings aka Ray CartaGino is a hip-hop artist, producer, song writer and CEO of his own Indie Label. He has spent the last 20 years on his grind, opening for acts such as Twista, Hopsin, Gorilla Zoe, Steve Stone, BETs creator of 106&Park Pat Charles and many others.
He has performed at some of the biggest venues, such as The Hard Rock Café, The House of Blues and The Vortex Night Club, and many others throughout Ohio and other States. He has world distribution threw Distrokid Records and a catalog of music that has 8 album, 3 LP’s, and a list of singles that all can be purchased on digital platforms worldwide.
His 3 next projects – “The Cantonian V2 Mixtape” & “The Softer Side of Things Mixtape” are due to drop in March of this year and his upcoming Album entitled “CartaGino 1250 The Last Chapter” drops during the Fall of 2019.
Last year, CartaGino’s “The Kingdom Certified” album featured the hit single “Show Up and Turn Out” featuring Strictly Street Music Group’s Carlos Stewart also known as Mr. Show Biz. The track maintained a chill throb and handclap rhythm, allowing CartaGino to shine with his earned wisdom and glimpses of greatness, becoming a glowing triumph.
The tune’s simple bounce carries a fat groove and Ray’s words of wisdom. The crew don’t miss a step as the hook chants: “We’re gonna show up and turn it out. Raise your hands if you’re with me.” Throughout this one, Ray brings enough charisma to grab and hold everybody’s attention. The Ohio rapper offers plenty of sure-footed bars on the track, making it a worthy entry into his series of singles.
Fast forward to the future, and we get a taste of the upcoming “CartaGino 1250 The Last Chapter” album, via the new single, “Say The Words” ft. Thomas Creger. The smooth slow jam sees Ray rollout verses atop a guitar-led sentimental groove. There are still some hard-hitting drums, but it’s clearly a sentimental-groove of a song, particularly when Creger gets on the mic.
Musically, this track transports you into a chill and highly fly mood. The musical spectrum is a pure high quality concentrated juice, and it is superbly produced. Ray CartaGino’s rhymes are poignant and stylish – they reach their goals, and shoot the targets, in a laid-back ambiance that is exhilarating.
Since dropping his debut recording, Ray CartaGino has walked an interesting path during his gradual ascent in the underground, and he has always confirmed the expectations that have been placed on him. Here, this product of Ohio once again shows us what he is capable of…and he is capable of a lot!